Sunday, March 30, 2014

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Land Deeds, An Important Resource Indeed

Beginning around 1850 as many as 90% of men owned land. Thus, we might have an effective time researching our ancestors of that period as land records are a mot complete type of record. They showed where an individual lived and could include additional important information, such as spouses, heirs, or other relatives. Ages might be mentioned.

One of the best sources to find online land records is on the FamilySerach Wiki. Click get help in the upper right hand corner of the website. Towards the bottom of the menu is Research Wiki. The search box is under the six icons you see. Types in the State you are interested in. Several options of collections will come up. At this time I am interested to find out if Patrick Cragun owned land in Pennsylvania. Recently, February 4th records were added to this collection. (You should check once a week as records are regularly being added) The Wiki doesn't lead  you to the ancestor, but leads you to the sources of records that may be applicable to your search. The Wiki can be kind of like a research plan, offering several selections of published records; on line, at locations, or on film.

In my case, under Land office records are indexes to several microfilmed records. I can order them to arrive at my closes family history library or as in my case they may be already on location at the downtown Salt Lake City FHL Now I have some action to take. I will copy these references into Evernote, easily to be retrieved on my next visit.  

NOW DEAR COUSINS: If you want to beat me to this effort, you have my full support. Here are the references: Just let me know if you want to tackle this. We are looking for Patrick; Cragun, Cragin, Craughn, Cragan, Craughan, Craughan or you get the picture. I will be using wild card searching to expand beyond those six variations.

Land Office Records

The state land office was established in 1682 by William Penn. Original deeds and patents were recorded by this office.
The state land office is now called the Bureau of Land Records. Extensive files of the bureau's records have been transferred to the State Archives. Many records have been scanned and are now searchable on the Pennsylvania Historial and Museum Commission website.  The Family History Library has copies of many of these records (on over 1,000 microfilms), including:
  • Pennsylvania. Board of Property. Board of Property Papers, 1682-1850. FHL film 988274 (first of 19 films). These loose papers involving land disputes are mostly in chronological order. They can contain valuable genealogical and historical information. There is no index to these records, but some of the documents have been extracted in Pennsylvania Archives, series 3, vols. 1. (1681-1739, 1765-1791) and 2 (1792-1795). (see Pennsylvania Genealogy). FHL book 974.8 A39p ser. 3, vols. 1-2 and FHL film 824426 items 1-2. There are documents on the films that are not in the books and visa-versa, so both books and films should be used together. The indexes in the books may be used to access the records on the films with a little bit of searching. For example, finding a name in the book index may lead to records in the films covering the same time period. The books contain mistakes.
  • Early Pennsylvania Land Records: Minutes of The Board of Property (Baltimore, Maryland.: Genealogical Publishing, 1976) is a published source that lists the names of many early settlers. FHL book 974.8 A39p, ser. 2 vol. 19. This was originally published as part of Pennsylvania Archives, second series (see Pennsylvania Genealogy), which covers the era 1687 to 1732.
  • Pennsylvania, Board of Property, Board of Property Petitions, Undated 1682-1815. FHL films 988269-73. These and the Board of Property records above can be some of the most valuable land records available for providing family history information. Because of the way land was distributed in Pennsylvania, there were many opportunities for disputes.
  • Pennsylvania, Bureau of Land Records, Warrant Register, 1682- 1950 is an important index to land records. FHL films 1003194-99. Munger, Pennsylvania Land Records, p. 202, states this index includes records beginning in 1733. This is an index to the warrants, patents and surveys listed immediately below. For an index to the earliest warrants and surveys, see Weinberg and Slattery, Warrants and Surveys of the Province of Pennsylvania, also listed below.
  • The State Archives has digital images of the Warrant Registers 1733-1957 for each county in Pennsylvania. The registers are alphabetical by surname of the warrantee (the person who got the warrant).
  • Pennsylvania. Bureau of Land Records. Original Warrants. FHL film 1028662 (first of 156 films). These are discussed in Munger, Pennsylvania Land Records, p. 202 cited above. The Warrant Register above gives the warrant number in the first column on the left. With that number and the first letter of the last name, one can find the warrant in the proper county. Alphabetical lists by the first letter of the last name and by county are in Pennsylvania Archives, series 3, volumes 24-26.
  • Pennsylvania, Bureau of Land Records, Patent Books, 1676-1960. FHL film 1028673 (first of 78 films. They are discussed in Munger, Pennsylvania Land Records, pp. 53, 118, 207-8. Besides being indexed in the Warrant Register, they have their own index. They may include other records such as naturalizations, etc.
  • Pennsylvania, Surveyor General. Original Surveys, 1682-1920. FHL film 1003388 (first of 499 films). These records are described in Munger, Pennsylvania Land Records, pp. 47-48. A partial index is also Pennsylvania, Surveyor General, Index to Old Rights in Philadelphia County, 1682-1748. FHL film 1028671 item 1, and Pennsylvania, Surveyor General, Index to Old Rights in Bucks and Chester Counties, 1682-1761. FHL film 1028678 item 3.
  • Pennsylvania, Land Office, Depositions, 1683-1881 also gives helpful family history information. FHL films 986869-82. These were usually made when land disputes were involved.
  • Pennsylvania, Land Office, Caveats, 1699-1890 are important records suggesting land disputes. FHL film 986599 (first of 20 films). These were legal documents to postpone acceptance of surveys or patents until all issues were resolved. Records of land disputes can be fruitful sources of genealogical information. Caveats for the period 1748-1784 are abstracted in Pennsylvania Archives, series 3, volume 2, pp. 159-660.
  • Pennsylvania, Land Office, Applications for Warrants, 1734-1865 FHL film 984123 (first of 173 films). These records are arranged chronologically. From 1762-1776, these applications are filed by the first letter of the applicant's surname within each year. Many applications are on small slips of paper that contain the name of the applicant, the date, and the location of the land desired. Sometimes, additional details are given, such as neighbors to the property. Often, more than one application will be listed on a document. If the applications are in alphabetical order, order was determined by the first name on the page. Other important documents may be found in these records, such as petitions, etc.
  • Pennsylvania, Land Office, Proof of Settlement Records, 1797-1869 are helpful records for the northwestern area of the state. FHL film 986619 (first of 15 films). As the title explains, individuals submitted proof of their settlement on a parcel of land. These records may tell when the owner settled the land and describe the improvements made.
Land Companies. The Holland Land Company and the Pennsylvania Population Company acquired large tracts of land for speculation purposes in the Last Purchase area in northwestern Pennsylvania, obtained by treaty in 1784. Many of the names in their records are fictitious. The Family History Library has copies of some records of these companies, including certificates and miscellaneous papers.
Military Bounty Lands. The state awarded some lands for military service. Certificates of depreciation were issued to Revolutionary soldiers to supplement the money they had received, which had depreciated in value. These certificates were sold or redeemed for land in the Last Purchase treaty area in western Pennsylvania, obtained in 1784. See:
Pennsylvania, Land Office, Original Warrants of Depreciation Lands, 1780-1800, FHL film 985462 (first of 4 films).
Donation land in the Last Purchase treaty area was issued to veterans of the Pennsylvania Line in the Continental Army. Eligible veterans drew lots for a piece of land and then paid a small fee for their certificate. Most soldiers sold their title instead of settling on the land. The library has Pennsylvania, Surveyor General's Office, Donation Lands Records, 1780-1800. FHL Collection. For a printed list of names, see Pennsylvania Archives, series 3, volume 7, pp. 659-795.
  • A description of the Bureau of Land Records is in Pennsylvania Bureau of Land Records, in Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Quarterly, vol. 8, no. 4, May 1982. FHL book 974.8 B2wg and FHL film 2024355.
The State Archives sells warrantee township maps. These show the original land grants within present-day township boundaries. The maps include the names of the original warrantee and patentee, the number of acres, and the dates of warrant, survey, and patent.

[edit] Indexes of Colonial and State Records

If one of your ancestors could have received a warrant to have land surveyed between 1682 and 1898, but you don't know in what county, see Pennsylvania Archives, 3d series. Volumes 1-4 and 24-26 include land records. The surname indexes are in volumes 27-30 FHL films 824436-38.
For additional assistance in identifying the county, search Allen Weinberg and Thomas E. Slattery, Warrants and Surveys of the Province of Pennsylvania Including the Three Lower Counties, 1759 (1965, Reprint, Knightstown, Indiana: Bookmark, 1975. FHL book 974.8 R2w and FHL films 982105 item 7 and 1036747 item 2. This source indexes warrants by county. Most warrants listed were issued for the period 1682-1759. This book also indexes Pennsylvania, Provincial Assembly, Warrants and Surveys of the Province of Pennsylvania, 1682-1759: Transcribed from the Records of the Surveyor General's and Proprietaries Secretary's Offices by John Hughes, Recorder of Warrants and Surveys under the Act of Assembly July 7, 1759, Original manuscripts, 9 vols. (Philadelphia, PA: Department of Records, 1957), FHL films 981096-97. These films are difficult to read.
The Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission has several indexes and other land records online of the land records at the Pennsylvania State Archives, including Warrant Registers, Copied Survey Books, Patent Indexes, Patent Tract Name Index, etc. Instructions for using the indexes and records are included as well as where to write to copies of original records.
The records of the Land Office are at the Pennsylvania State Archives. The site includes a history of the Land Office and descriptions of the records available at the State Archives.
For help with more complicted searches, see Donna Munger's book, Pennsylvania Land Records. A History and Guide for Research. FHL book 974.8 R2m and Other libraries with this book.

Other sources to locate land deeds are Google (Type in county and state land records), USGenWeb,, and several newspaper sites, ie; Chronicling America.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Just One Good Reason of Many To Subscribe To My Heritage

This feature could have saved me one month of serious research. Before I uploaded my tree to MyHeritage I decided to go through the site:‎ to look up articles about the Cragun family. It was interesting and once I got into it I couldn't quit. I would guess I spent about 20 hours a week on this effort.

To my dismay - Record matching in MyHeritage has assembled all of those articles and thousands more and organized them by ancestor? Can you hear me weaping and wailing? Oh well, the good news is that I have a total of 21,298 pending matches for 7,098 people awaiting my view. Yippee.
 Here is a clip showing how it is organized:

There are at least 9 records on each of these ancestors.

Here is their announcement on this feature.

Introducing Record Matching

We're pleased to introduce today a new technology - Record Matching - that automatically finds relevant historical records for every family tree on MyHeritage!

This is an add-on feature for SuperSearch, our global search engine for historical records, that was successfully launched in June. We're very excited about Record Matching, and believe it is a breakthrough that can bring value to almost every user of MyHeritage and to people not using MyHeritage who are curious about their family history. Read the details below and we hope you'll share our excitement.
Introducing Record Matching Technology
What is Record Matching?
If you're like many of us who love genealogy but don't have lots of spare time to invest in it, you'll love Record Matching. While you're busy with other things - or even sleeping - Record Matching does much of the work for you. It works behind the scenes on a new server farm set up by MyHeritage, constantly comparing every family tree on MyHeritage to more than 4 billion historical records on SuperSearch, looking for matches to bring to you. A Record Match is a document relevant to your family's history, such as a birth record of one of your ancestors, a tombstone photo of a relative in your family, or a newspaper article describing how your great-grandfather met and fell in love with your great-grandmother. Record Matches are found automatically and delivered directly to you. New discoveries await you!
What's unique about Record Matching?  ...... for the rest of the story click this link.

Monday, March 24, 2014

More For Getting The Youth Involved

Phooey on Video games and iPad games, encourage your kids and grandkids to a much more fun passion.

I have already posted the talk by Neil A Anderson given the youth at RootsTech, click here, but even the younger can catch on. Teach them, or have a  family history consultant teach the both of  you, how to use FamilySearch, FamilySearch family tree,, and even MyHeritage. Teach them they can search on Google, FindaGrave, and if they have pioneer ancestors have them Google Mormon Overland Pioneer Trail; this takes them to an awesome site.

There is a website focused on the youth; " " I enclose their brochure from RootsTech below. You can also sign up for a weekly suggestion email. We have enjoyed going around to our grandchildren with a family home evening structured around their ages. I have come up with some games, look for something fun about an ancestor, and  shown them a puzzilla and fan chart about their ancestors.

It is their time, teach them the basics and they will do the rest. Much better than video games, more fun and satisfying too. Encourage them to find their cousins; they can do it.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Page 2 Of My Handout for My Presentation At The Pleasant Grove Family History Fair

10 great blogs

10 Great blog tips or tips off of blogs:

2- Use a separate email for genealogy related correspondence.
3- Using these four websites to search for an ancestor cover a lot of ground; there are many more:
4- The church estimates that 80% of research is duplicated research. (Collaborate)
5- Talk to your elderly relatives. Dig out their stories and facts. Remember when an old man (woman) dies a library burns. Put them on FamilySearch family tree.
6- When you find a fact record the source of that fact. Family History without sources is fairy tale.
7- When you want to find a website to tell you where to find an answer go to these two sites first: The Family Search Wiki: and Cyndi's list:
8- The FamilySearch Wiki is considered the ultimate research tool.
9- When searching in Google add the word genealogy to the search for better results.
10- The youth should understand when it comes to family history – it’s their time.

News to keep you from snoozing:

The LDS FamilySearch Partnerships are in beta and projected to go live Mid April: Members of the LDS church will have access to,, and 

Eventually the records will be available as part of the FamilySearch database; being able to be accessed in the “search records” link in family tree. 

For over 100 years member’s tithes have supported collecting, storing, microfilming, digitizing, and now publishing records online. These offer significant value to our new partners. Several additional partnerships are being negotiated by FamilySearch. 

The LDS – partnership includes the World Explorer level of membership, not the World Plus that includes and Current subscribers to the partner sites will not receive any credit for prepaid portions of subscriptions.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Patrick Cragun: No Results On This Trail: Pennsylvania FamilySearch Historical Records: updated

There are a lot of Craguns interested in family history. Some spell their name Cragan. Some even in a strange to me way Craughan. However you spell it cousin, lets work together. I will post my research trail on Patrick Cragun and  and William Whitaker Jr; supposedly making us descendants of Elisha Cragun direct descendants of Lord and Lady Lisle. I know, every one of us want to be related to this great lady. But how about lets prove it.

Family Search Historical Records have 16 collections. Not a lot. Some had millions of records.

I found no sign of our boy Patrick within these: All different spellings searched in the family search unindexed portion of histgorical records. These records are found on line, some searchable, some only viewable. There are billions of non digitized records.

FamilySearch states that at the rate we are publishing digitized records (over one million a day) that it will take 300 years to index what we have, let alone what we will gather.

For example: the church has over 250 missionary couples out over the world photographing church and municiple records.

A true case for our giving back by indexing.

Pennsylvania, Births and Christenings, 1709-1950951,48005 Dec 2013
Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885-19502,246,24821 Feb 2014
Pennsylvania, Eastern District Naturalization Indexes, 1795-1952231,64124 Dec 2013
Pennsylvania, Eastern District Petitions for Naturalization, 1795-1931Browse Images24 Dec 2013
Pennsylvania, Marriages, 1709-1940476,24505 Dec 2013
Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Case Files of Chinese Immigrants, 1900-1923Browse Images24 Dec 2013
Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Births, 1860-19061,022,16824 Dec 2013
Pennsylvania, Philadelphia City Death Certificates, 1803-19152,442,46824 Dec 2013
Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Marriage Indexes, 1885-19511,830,46824 Dec 2013
Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Passenger List Index Cards, 1883-19481,153,20724 Dec 2013
Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Passenger Lists Index, 1800-1906Browse Images31 Jan 2014
Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1800-1882489,49424 Dec 2013
Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Passenger Lists, 1883-1945971,45924 Dec 2013
Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Seamen's Proofs of Citizenship, 1791-1861Browse Images07 Feb 2014
Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh City Deaths, 1870-1905164,487 *04 Mar 2014
Pennsylvania, Probate Records, 1683-1994Browse Images23 Dec 2013

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

News Flash

The word in the mission is that the partnerships are in beta now. There will be 600 missionaries in the beta. It could be available to the church membership in Mid April.

Grove Creek - Timpanogos Stakes Family History Fair Saturday March 22nd

ADDRESS CORRECTION: 1176N 730E Pleasant Grove

I  love learning more about genealogy and family history fairs, seminars, and conferences are my favorite way to learn. RootsTech and the Riverton 3rd Saturday Seminar are regular events for me.

This coming Saturday is a two Stake fair in Pleasant Grove.

I have been asked to give a presentation titled, "blogging is genealogy". I am on at 2PM. You might want to come to the rest of the fair. -:)

Saturday, the doors open at 8:15am for registration, and the fair starts with the keynote at 9:00.
The way the schedule runs, there will be a ten-minute break between classes.. The final presentations in each room goes from (3:00 – 4:00

One Of My Favorite Things About The Genealogy Community

It's the good spirit of the work. I love the spirit of the work. It's not only the passion people develop in finding their ancestors but it's more than that. It is the spirit of service, one to another that is so common in this industry.It shows up in how people treat each other. It shows up in how we can collaborate and share. It also shows up in the partnerships taking place even in the business part of this work. As we find our ancestors we seem to be bound to them. As we share our knowledge with our family members we are more closely bound to them.

As an example last summer I wrote about how great it was for my young grandson Michael from Iowa to go photograph headstones together As I was indexing our own work the headstone of one our photos reflected Michael's image into the picture. We not only shared in the fun of doing this together, we reveled together of him being in the picture. He called me a few days ago to tell me he was passing by the cemetery we photographed and it reminded him of our fun time doing the billion graves thing. To see that article and photo, click here.

Using billion graves as another example I received this email this morning from another great company; MyHeritage. Read on and see if  you don't get the same great feeling I am talking about.

By the way; don't you just love the MyHeritage artwork?

Dear Larry,

Cemeteries are among the most valuable resources for family history research. Headstones (gravestones) contain a wealth of information about the deceased, such as dates of birth and death, names of relatives, and surprises such as photographs and emotional epitaphs.

There are hundreds of thousands of cemeteries worldwide, but most of them have never been documented, and the headstone information is not available online. Time is chipping away at the headstones and many become unreadable over the years :-(

Together with our partner, BillionGraves, we have recently launched a global initiative to photograph and transcribe all of the world's cemeteries, and make the data available for free!

This week we kickstarted this initiative by taking the employees of MyHeritage to "practice what we preach" and digitize an entire cemetery ourselves. We photographed more than 50,000 gravestones in a few hours in the largest project of this kind ever done in Israel. Read about our amazing experience and look at many photos documenting our project on our blog. Leading genealogy bloggers agree that this is a wonderful, worthy mission – read the posts of Dick Eastman, Randy Seaver and James Tanner about it.

We cannot do this important project alone. This is where YOU can make a big difference!
We extend an invitation to you to come join us in this exciting project.

How does it work?
1. BillionGraves is a very easy to use iPhone and Android app. First, click here to sign up to BillionGraves for free in its special MyHeritage welcome page.
2. Download the BillionGraves mobile app from that page.
3. Visit a cemetery near you, and take photos of the headstones using the app. GPS information on each grave is automatically captured.
4. Use the BillionGraves website to help enter the names and information that appear in the headstone photos that you took or other users have taken. All information is made available for free on the BillionGraves website and on MyHeritage SuperSearch. MyHeritage Record Matching technology will match the headstones automatically to your tree and all trees on MyHeritage, for free.

For more information, read our blog post. If you have questions about participating, email them to our team at

As part of the project, I photographed 2000 gravestones myself this month, and I must say it is fascinating and addictive. Join our global initiative too, by clicking here.

Thank you.

Gilad Japhet
Founder & CEO

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

A Search Trick For All Researchers

I would guess that all those experienced web searchers know this trick. So if you do, just close your eyes for a minute. It's called a Wildcard. It's using an * as a refining tool.

As an example, in looking for Patrick Cragun or signs of him in Pennsylvania, with the spelling Craughn, perhaps expanding that to other spellings would go like this.

 I went to

Instead of using the search box for indexed records I scrolled down browse all public collections.

I followed the path from the United States to
Pennsylvania, Philadelphia Marriage Indexes, 1885-19511,830,46824 Dec 2013

I've been through the records above this link. (I selected the dates so most recent comes to the top)
In the search box there were no Craughn records. But while I was here I went down a bunny trail.

Wow, (I am writing this post as I research) Sixty two marriage records roll out. There are various spellings of our Cragun name. However, it deserves some investigation as we have one reference to Patricks wifes name; it is in his Patriarchal blessing given in Nauvoo.

I will wrap up the message of the post, using wildcard by illustrating were I to search with cra* the search would sort and deliver only all options possible following cra, craig as an example.

You can also inject the wildcard in the middle of a word in a similar manner.

This link takes you to an article with more detail:

PS: An update on the 62 marriages. None seemed to be our Patrick, the dates are later than his would be.

I then went into these records:Pennsylvania, Eastern District Naturalization Indexes, 1795-1952
I could browse through all Browse through 232,810 images or I can search. CRA* takes the number down to 258. A common change of spelling is the u in Cragun. I will do Crag*n; = no results. 
Crag* brings up 7 records to research.

The wildcard is a great help.

Ron Tanner Invites Us All To FamilySearch Family Tree

 It's the first video in this playlist.

A New Indexing Opportunity

Meet Jack Starling, a pirate. He and I are buddies now.Jack had a short part of RootsTech. You might be interested in his message.

Actually,I finally kicked in and started indexing. It's only fair, I use the indexing results of others so very much. You do too I am sure. Instead of paying it forward I suggest it's paying it back.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Puzzilla May Be A Reserchers Best Tool.

So many say my work is all done. That is because they go up the tree. Genealogy isn't just a pedigree going up. What about the families they had; your cousins. This short video is a great demo.

Theory: Patrick Cragun lived in Pennsylvania For A Time: Could be Spelled Craughn

I am following the trail by Gylynne Heiner Hone that Patrick once lived in Pennsylvania and from Nancy Day that he might have used the spelling Craughn.  This is a later than Patricks time wedding found in family search historical records. Could Elizabeth be related to Patrick?

Let's coordinate if you feel like searching these historical records so we don't duplicate. There is a lot to go through.

"Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885-1950," index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 15 Mar 2014), Elizabeth Craughn in entry for Edward Paul O'Connor and Margaret Helen Higgins, 18 Jun 1936; citing , Luzerne, Pennsylvania, United States; FHL microfilm 2224602.
Name:Edward Paul O'Connor
Titles and Terms: 
Event Type:Marriage
Event Date:18 Jun 1936
Event Place:, Luzerne, Pennsylvania, United States
Birth Year (Estimated):1905
Father's Name:Edward T
Father's Titles and Terms: 
Mother's Name:Elizabeth Craughn
Mother's Titles and Terms: 
Spouse's Name:Margaret Helen Higgins
Spouse's Titles and Terms: 
Spouse's Birth Year (Estimated):1911
Spouse's Father's Name:James W
Spouse's Father's Titles and Terms: 
Spouse's Mother's Name:Mary Mcnamara
Spouse's Mother's Titles and Terms: 
Reference ID: 
GS Film Number:2224602
Digital Folder Number:004833150
Image Number:00379

We Irish Have Some Favorite Irish Songs

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Saturday, March 15, 2014

A Fun Family Tree Feature

This is a sample of photos in my family tree people section. Those with the yellow band on the bottom right were placed by someone other than me into family tree. I've been busy posting photos and have added 533 to the tree. Many are from our sons missionary journal. Michael is deceased so the are public. Other people have added another 166 photos of my ancestors.

Their contributions make the tree a fabulous adventure. But to make it even better I have never heard of three of those four above with the banner. When I click the banner it shows my relationship. Edna Brough is a great aunt through my ancestor Lyman Wight Porter. Edward Hunter is a great uncle, also through Lyman Wight Porter, and Edward Hoagland comes to my tree through the notorious Edward Rich South. 

Every two weeks an upgrade to family tree goes live. It is a huge commitment that the church has made. It's free to all and always will be. I encourage you to participate, it's a good thing to do.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Friday Is For Fun< How About Some Genealogy Humor


Prisons Records For Research? It's Part Of The History

My sister Nancy informs me she found a record of our cousin Orlando Ray Spalding Sr as inmate in an Idaho Prison. He's the guy on the far left.

She posted this in Family Tree: Research by Nancy Cragun Day 1918 WWI Draft Registration, Boise, State of Iowa convict labor 1920 census, Iowa Men's State Reformatory Married aunt Viola 1924 His mother's maiden name, Letitia Violet Decatur Daughter's middle name, Leticia You know Aunt Viola worked in a restaurant/bar. In 1930 census he was a cook in a restaurant. Aunt Ruth and other stories, he was a shady character. although reformatory tells me "juvenile delinquent", Near as I can tell 1 1/2 yrs for rape. I spoke with Calvary Cemetery, it is him. Middle initial "O" and death date that matches Washington Death Index. For more info on him it's $5 to mortuary Gaffney Funeral Home in Tacoma.

From Ray on the left, going to the right is my Aunt Viola, my mother Bertha Cragun, my fathers mother Blanche  Bingham Grundy Cragun Smith (My Grandmother and yep she was married three times), Kent Smith (the only grandpa I knew) my Aunt Myrtle Norma Nelson, and my dads brother Glenn Cragun.

I use this to make a point: what the heck happened? I knew everyone of these people except Ray. His story, even my Aunt Viola's is gone. It hasn't even been three generations but the only thing we know is what my sister Nancy found. Why was he in jail? What influence did he have on my Aunt?

What was said at RootsTech is true. If a story isn't written it's lost in three generations.

Oh, and about prison records. At every stage of the prison process, records were created. They can be a great value to genealogists.

I Did IT! I Chewed That Elephant Up In Pieces

One of the big tasks we have in FamilySearch Family Tree is merging duplicate files. All of the different versions people had put into need to be merged together to make the tree clean.

A careful merge brings together  into one file all of the information the various contributors have added.

The older the ancestor is, the more likely the amount of duplicates are to be many. Add to that if they were nobility, it is likely a bigger issue. Such is the case of Lord John Lisle.  A lot more research needs to be performed to verify if the family is as several have input.

So I decided to get all of the information scattered in family tree about Lord Lisle into one file. I gave up the first time at over 100 merges. Later I thought, if not me who? So on several different occassions I again merged about 100 files. They almost all  have the same info, but on a few merges there was a new child to add.

I wish the tree told us how many duplicate files there were, but it usually set the number at 98 or 99. So after completing many setting of merges I wondered will this ever end.

It did, finally. Last night I kept merging away and then suddenly noticed the number was 94 left to merge. Could it be so? I got it down into the 80 's and danag the count jumped up. Oh please no I thought. Then it dropped into the 70's. At 48 I became a believe - there was an end to this task. The count jumped from 41 to 46 but I kept going. It went 46 to 45 and sequencially down to 31 and I said to myself; please don't jump back up to  99. Whoopee, it skipped from 25 to 21. Oh dang it went from 21 to 25. Please no more jumping up.

All went well until 10 were left to merge. I then got the message These records cannot be merged because the corresponding combined record in would be too large. To merge these records, please wait until shuts down.  You see, Family Tree still uses some of the processes from Over in there was a maximum number of records that could be attached to one ancestor. The older they were the more likely a file too large to merge. Family Tree won't have this problem. We all have just the one entry for an ancestor.

This is a tedtious task, but I believe we are doing something very important. Now onto more exciting tasks, such as determining did he really have these  11 children. Is one of them really my ancestor. You see, there is missing proof in 3 generations that he and Lady Lisle are really the great great grandparents of Joshus Whitaker, our Joshua Whitaker.

We shall see.

Onward and forward.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

7 Reasons Why I Like Social Media As A Genealogy Tool

Blogs are part of social media. You are here so you are participating by default at worse case. I participate in social media for a few good reasons. Here are some:

1- I use Facebook and Twitter to share my findings with relatives. This is often a photo or a story. Connecting this way to relatives often provides feedback and collaboration. It also brings us closer together as many are quite distant in many meanings of the word.

2- I have over 1000 Twitter followers. Some are Craguns. When I post a Cragun article I forward it to Twitter. When I post a how to do genealogy article I do the same but for the purpose of trying to create some interest in genealogy.

There are buttons at the bottom of each article that is a one click forward to those sites.

3- Blogs are great as they are filled with content and the search engines treat them well. I am amazed where the visits to the blog come from.

4- You often can search Twitter and find a current tweet about a subject you are searching. This is the type of response you would get if you just did a Twitter search for genealogy:

5- Some great resources post to Twitter. For example Indiana Counties often Tweet about new records they publish online. You could pick any to follow.

6- I post some of my sources in I received an email telling me that my account was in the top 4% of their traffic. You can post power points and pdf' documents to Slideshare.

7- Blogs are a great way to start recording  your stories, as in chapters of a book.

The definition of social media should have something to do with being social. How's that for a concept?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

10 Tips For Genealogy Newbies

There is so much fun in digging into your family history. I enjoy helping people as a part time missionary in the church support unit. Several hundred requests come in daily from novices to experienced with a specific question to get resolved.

Here are a few tips for the genealogy newbie.

1- Start be seeing what is in FamilySearch Family Tree. Learn to use it, it's the genealogy of the world.
2- Use a separate email for genealogy related correspondence.
3- Using these four websites to search for an ancestor cover a lot of ground; there are many more:
4- Read on a regular basis the blogs listed on the right side of this blog. Add to that the FamilySearch blog:
5- Talk to your elderly relatives. Dig out their stories and facts. Remember when an old man (woman) dies a library burns.
6- When you find a fact record the source of that fact. Family History without sources is fairy tale.
7- When you want to find a website to tell you where to find an answer go to these two sites first: The Family Search Wiki: and Cyndi's list:
8- If you are like me and like to learn by video go to this site that is a dirctory of upcoming webinars:
9- When searching in Google add the word genealogy to the search for better results.
10- There are about 4000 family history centers around the country. Likely there is one near you. Some are only open a few hours a week. They are usually manned by a pretty good expert volunteer. To find the nearest to you go to:

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Did You Know An Eight Year Old Can Have A Family Tree Account?

Why would an eight year old be allowed an account? With parental approval of course. Two obvious reasons; they get computers and this is their time.

RootsTech 2014 welcomed 4000 youth for special sessions and events. Watching their interest was a fun thing to do. There were special speakers for their sessions. One by Elder Neal A Andersen was great for them, he told them this was there time, and I think you would enjoy it too.  There is a lot of good here. For you non LDS viewers it might be impressive to see what our leaders teach the youth of the Church and get a sense on the good it does.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Updates in Family Tree

If you are like me you have numerous ancestors saved to the watch list. It's a great feature allowing me to stay aware of what changes are made to my ancestors. Currently there is a weekly email sent notifying me of all changes made on those ancestors.I have been told that eventually the notice will be immediate. I'd like that.

The problem just solved is that I can select an option to not be notified of my own changes. Last week I was responsible for over 80% of the changes made. I guess I could enjoy seeing my name in print, but really, I'd rather not.

Users can now optionally remove their changes from the list:  CHANGES TO PEOPLE I’M WATCHING.

Also You Can Switch Person A and Person B During a Merge

During the merge process, users can now switch Person A and Person B to place the person with more data on the lefthand side. If this operation is not allowed, the Switch Positions link does not appear.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

What About The Partnerships Family Search Is Making?

On February 4, 2014, FamilySearch announced a series of agreements with, findmypast, and MyHeritage to accelerate the delivery of freely searchable genealogical records to family history researchers.

As a missionary I receive more questions on this issue than practically any other. Dennis Brimhhall recently posted this list of questions and answers regarding the partnerships.

These agreements are in line with the FamilySearch mission to publish online as many freely available, searchable genealogical records as possible.

The agreements are best understood in light of the overall pace at which searchable records are currently being delivered on Notwithstanding the astounding success of the FamilySearch indexing program and the tireless dedication of hundreds of thousands of volunteers, it will still take many generations to index and publish just the records contained in FamilySearch’s Granite Mountain Records Vault. This estimate does not account for the more than 35 million new images of records that are digitized each month—and that rate is increasing.

FamilySearch indexing, is, at best, only a partial solution to the challenge of making searchable records available in a timely fashion. Clearly, there is a need for additional, creative approaches to providing indexed records, which is why it makes sense to partner with leading commercial genealogy providers such as,, findmypast, Fold3, and MyHeritage.

Working together, FamilySearch and its partners will bring billions of currently unsearchable and unavailable records to patrons decades before these records would otherwise become available.
Some people have questions about how this collaboration will all come about and what it means to volunteers. Below are answers to some of the most common questions.

Q.        Will records indexed by FamilySearch indexing volunteers continue to be freely available to all patrons?
A.        Yes. FamilySearch volunteers index and arbitrate with the understanding that their contribution will be made freely available to others. These partner agreements will not change this practice.

I have been told by Don Anderson and heard Dennis Brimhall suggest that there could be many more of these in the future.

It is really exciting to see that the big providers in the genealogy community see the value they often preach, that of collaborating. It is truly a good thing.

Continue to the family search blog for the remaining Q & A